June 28, 2009

They're Sending Him Back to Iraq

In two weeks my brother in law will come home for 14 days. He will then return back to the Army base is currently resides at to prepare for a second tour in Iraq beginning in August 2009. This tour will begin approximately 13 months after the end of his first tour and just under 90 days later than his scheduled release date.

(This is photo of my brother in law with my boys, Little Man and Jellybean, at 6:45 in the morning, approximately an hour and a half after he landed on US soil after his first tour in Iraq was through last summer.)

How can this be? He in part of the 82nd Airborne. Basically, he is trained to jump out of planes and to run the front lines (or "he shoots his gun a lot", as my boys would say). Because the unit he is part of is scheduled to go back to Iraq within 90 days of his release date the Army is able to enact the Army Stop Loss laws.

The purpose of the Stop-Loss is to make the units deployed more cohesive and effective. Which in theory, sounds great. Due to this law the Army has reached it's goal of having an end strength of over 547,000. And they met the goal 3 years early!

But I, for one, have a huge problem with this law which currently impacts about 7,300 active duty Army soldiers. Maybe I'm just confused. But I don't understand why soldiers who have served their country overseas are being forced to go back when the rate of new recruits is up so high.

I think what really pisses me off is that the Army doesn't Stop-Loss every soldier that falls into the Stop-Loss criteria. Several other guys that my brother in law joined with and has been serving with for last several years were allowed to go home. He was the only one that was Stop-Lossed. Why? He was told that the others were not dependable, but he was. Damned if you do, damned if you don't, I suppose.

My brother in law did question this at first, but didn't push it. He chose to join the Army and serve his country by his own free will. He understands that he has a duty to serve and will uphold that duty until it is done. He will serve his country with great pride, to the best of his abilities and will not hesitate to do what he is asked to do and will not complain. He's a wonderful soldier, a true American, a terrific uncle to my boys, a great son, an honest friend and an undoubtedly reliable man. He's someone that I'm proud to be connected to.

So for now, while the world is more interested in the death of a freakish celebrity, don't be offended when I tell you I don't care. I'm more interested in what's going on with the war our country is fighting, bills that are being passed while we look the other way, and the overall state of our nation. And in a few short weeks all my family and I will be thinking about is spending time with our soldier. And once August comes, we will all be praying that he makes it back again, alive and well, after his second tour in Iraq is through.

June 27, 2009

Do You Social Network?

For the longest time I refused to join any social networking sites. I thought they were only for middle school kids. But as time went on, and the site grew, so did the pressure from my college friends. They insisted I join so they could keep in touch and see my kids. I finally gave in and created a myspace page. I added all of my college sorority sisters who were all still single and childless and shared pics of my little man.

Over time I found people I had graduated with and met throughout the years and lots of my family joined as well. It was especially handy when my brother in law was in Iraq a couple years ago. Just this week I was looking over my "Friends List" and got to thinking. The girls I thought I'd be so close to from college are merely little thumbnails on an Internet site. I rarely talk to them, let alone see them. Though I can tell you what almost every one of them is up to right now.

It's also amazing to look at the girlfriends I've re-connected with and met all because of these social networking websites. Of course there are still people out there who just don't get it, no names mentioned, my husband. But I am so glad I'm online. Though I do wish I wasn't so addicted sometimes! Now after about 3 years I've joined myspace, facebook, cafemom, a few other mom sites that I rarely check, and most recently (as of yesterday) I gave in and started tweeting as well. I have to say, this is one of those things that I thought I'd never do, but am so glad I jumped on that bandwagon! Aren't you?

June 25, 2009

I Need to Re-Focus

What is my problem? I just can't get motivated or stay focused, but I really do want to loose some of this extra weight that I put on while I was pregnant. When the Wii introduced the EA Sports Active game and I heard how great it was, I ran out and bought it. And I did really good the first week. But I kept flip flopping with the level of intensity I wanted to do, and eventually I just stopped working out. Then I said I was going to start walking.... yeah right! That hasn't happened! The only walking I do is a leisurely stroll through the mall about once a week! But the worst? My eating habits! Last week I made some lovely home-made peanut butter eggs. Don't they just scream "eat me"!?!?! And I can't curb my ice cream addiction... but that's NOT my fault! (I'll explain that another day). Ugh! I need to stop sabotaging myself... Maybe now that I've written down how badly I've done for the rest of the world to see I'll start doing something for myself!! Like not making anymore of those yummy peanut butter eggs for awhile! Wish me luck!!

June 24, 2009

You Never Know What You'll Come Home To!

I got the opportunity to go out tonight for a kid-free dinner with one of my best girlfriends. I was so excited! This was the first time I'd gone out in quite awhile and it was the first time I'd left the baby to do something for myself since he'd been born. And I'm sooooo glad I did! Granted we only went out to dinner and just sat and talked for 2 hours, but it was WONDERFUL! It was great to not have to constantly wipe a face, change a diaper, pick up dropped food and spoons, or tell someone to be quiet! ;) I have to say, I'm looking forward to another kid free dinner sometime very soon!!

As nice of a time I had, I was a little surprised to find out what had gone on while I was gone. The boys were playing at my in-laws and well, found a nest of baby bunnies!! Apparently, they must have ran over the next (by accident of course) with their car and baby bunnies started running all over the place! And of course Jellybean just had to play with them like they were toys! Here's a few pics that my hubby took of Jellybean with the bunnies while I was enjoying my peanut butter pie! :)

After looking at the pics I was left with two thoughts: 1) Those poor bunnies and 2) I hope my hubby washed his hands really good!!!

It Happened to Us! Our kids got locked in the car!

I've read stories and seen clips on the news of kids getting locked in a car. And I swore it would NEVER happen to my kids! Boy was I wrong! I got the biggest scare of my life two days ago when my hubby and I took the kids to visit my in-laws.

We all piled into the truck and drove to Grandmas. When we got there, my husband and I both got of the car, shutting our respective doors simultaneously. However, when I reached to open up the back door to get the baby out, it was locked!! I tried to open the door several times, like it would magically unlock if I pulled it enough times! Ha!

Then I started screaming at my husband... who had left the keys in the ignition!!! Ugh! The car was off, but the hubby has a habit of leaving the keys in the car, which I've told him 100s of times to stop doing. Did he listen? Of course not! So World War III began. We were both screaming at each other and I ran inside my mother in-laws house to call a lock smith while my mother in law and her father tried to get Jellybean (who was sitting by the door) to unlock the door.

Fortunately, Jellybean was able to unlock the door from the inside and they were only in the car for about 2 minutes. Though it seemed as though the whole ordeal lasted an hour. I was so mad and my husband and I haven't gotten into such a bad fight in I don't know how long (if ever)!

So please, learn for our mistake! NEVER have all of the door shut on your vehicle if there is a child inside. And if this is something that you practice on your own (as I do), don't let you guard down just because your husband's there (as I did). And just an FYI- a good friend of mine told me that any lock smith will let kids who are trapped in a car out for free. Good to know! :)

June 20, 2009

I Am Boycotting Dick's!!!

After the experience I had today, I've decided that I'm boycotting Dick's (the sporting goods store that is... get your head out of the gutter!!). Now I know I shouldn't have waited until the day before Father's Day to finish my shopping, but I like to wait until the last minute. It makes me move faster! :)

Anyway... I stopped by Dick's today to pick up some golf balls for my hubby and a gift card for my father in law. I pulled into the parking lot, unbuckled the two older boys, then walked around and grabbed the baby, then walked back around the car to get the boys out of the car and we walked inside, piled into a shopping cart and went searching for golf balls.

Once I had wasted 15 minutes pondering how much I should spend and why on earth some of the little balls were $40 for 6 balls, I picked up 2 packs that were on sale and went to the register. I stood in line for a few minutes with 3 very impatient children, when a 3rd register finally opened I scooted to the next line.

When it was finally my turn I sat the golf balls on the counter and told the male cashier who looked to be in his mid-late 20s that I also needed a gift card. He looked at me (with my 3 children) and said "I hate to make you do this, but I need you to go over and get a gift card off the rack on the other register."

What? Is he serious? I just stood there for a second, then I looked behind me... in that tiny little isle 10 other customers were now filed in behind me, waiting. I looked at my kids, then back at the line, then over at the other register. He's not really going to make me drag these kids over there, right? Then he says, "See them? There under the orange sign?" All I could think was, he's seriously going to make me go and get a gift card! Jerk!!

So I take one last look at my kids, as I'm considering leaving them there in the line.... then I look behind me once again at all the people standing there, blocking my path to the dreaded gift cards. Finally I start backing up the cart with all 3 boys saying "excuse me" with every step I take. I had to go back out of line, go through the next line and then ask a lady that was standing in the first line to hand me a gift card because I couldn't get to them. I was so embarrassed. Then I had to maneuver the cart and the kids back through that line and around all the people standing there waiting in my line.

I was so mad. People were starring at me and were clearly annoyed. I was so mad I could feel my face turn bright red and I felt as though the temperature in the store rose 25degrees. I could feel myself starting to sweat and I was fighting back tears I was so angry!! I just wanted to scream at the jerk!!

I just have 2 questions: 1) Why on earth wouldn't they have gift cards at every register? And 2) What was he thinking sending me over to get one? Doesn't he get paid to provide customer service? Wouldn't it have been easier for him to scoot around the front of his register and go grab one? (Ok, I know, that ended up being 4 questions... but 2 points!). Ugh! I'm still so mad!! I'm sorry, maybe I'm over reacting. I don't know, but I'm still furious and I'm not going back to Dick's!

June 19, 2009

Nothing's Sacred When You're A Mom!

Apparently when you become a mother you simultaneously give up the right to pee without an all out audience!! Or so it seemed the other day. I swear nothing is sacred anymore! I sat the baby down in his bouncer in the bathroom, just so I knew where is was and could make sure that my 2 year old wasn't rubbing ketchup all over his face. :)

Anyway... I guess I forgot to lock the door. My butt no longer and touched the toilet and in came Little Man, barging right into the bathroom, yelling! What was he yelling about? He was informing that Jellybean was in the other bathroom unrolling all of the toilet paper. Great! Not 5 seconds later, in comes Jellybean to defend himself. You know, I love my boys. I really do. But there are times during the day that I wish I was all alone. Just for 30 seconds!! I guess I need to start remembering to lock the bathroom door!

BTW- Just in case you're wondering... Jellybean had unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper. How he did it so quickly, I still have yet to figure out. But if anyone hears of any contests that reward toilet paper unrolling skills, let me know! He's being entered!!

June 17, 2009

Me and My Big Mouth!

I am so sick... I have a serious case of diarrhea of the mouth!! I don't know what my problem is, but it seems as though I have trouble thinking about what I'm about to say before I say it!

My last big oops? Well, a few days ago I made the mistake of telling my hubby that if he wanted a truck then he could get one. STUPID! He's wanted a truck ever since we got married and had to get rid of his old one. I did give him some criteria that he had to meet: it needs to fit all three of the boys' carseats, be new, not used and be the same payment as our car (which we'd trade in), and we can't loose too much on our car, which is only a year old.

Ok, I know what you're thinking.... "There's no way he'd be able to trade in a car for a big truck." That's what I thought anyway! Now he's on a misson to find a pickup! Ugh! The problem is, besides the fact that he won't talk about anything but a truck now, is that he might actually be able to pull this one off!! I really don't want a truck.

Please, if you've actually made it to the end of this post, be sure to take one point with you.... THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK, ESPECIALLY TO YOUR HUSBANDS!!!!! :)

June 12, 2009

They're Spittin' Images of Each Other!

I've always said (and been told) that my boys look alike. They look so much alike it's almost freaky! Even my husband got them wrong on the first try when I showed him these pics!! Here, see for yourself!!

Here's Baby #1

Now, Baby #2

And finally, Baby #3

Need a hint? Here's a recent pic of all three of them before I tell you!!

Ok, Baby #1 is Jellybean (my middle child), Baby #2 is my oldest, Little Man, and Baby #3 is little baby Bear!! They all look different now at different ages, but if we look back at pics of Little Man when he was two, he looks just like Jellybean! Or Jellybean looks just like him?! :)

June 11, 2009

Unique Father's Day Gifts

With Father's Day just around the corner it's time for me to start my usual routine of decision making. Every year I debate between several stereotypical gifts: a new tie, a "best Dad" tee or hat, a new book, maybe some golf balls, a grilling kit or a shiny new screwdriver. This year my husband has asked for two things: a tattoo and the ugliest pair of swimming trunks I've ever seen (and they're $65!!! Ugh!). And I still have no idea where to start for my own dad or my father in law!

So, today I started browsing from some gifts for all the father's in my life. I have to say I have found some very fun and unique gifts!! So far, here are some of my favorite (and most unique) gifts I've found!!

This gift keeps giving all year, even after Father's Day is over he'll get a little reminder every month that he's the center of your world!! For around $32 a month, he'll enjoy 12 bottles in up to 4 different varieties of micro-brews for a whole year! They also have smaller clubs that only last for 3 or 6 months. Ohh, wait. Dad doesn't like beer? That's ok, there are plenty of other monthly clubs you can get him! For example, AmazingClubs also has monthly clubs for BBQ Sauce, Chocolate, Dinner and a Movie, Ties, and Steak, just to name a few!

Custom Ralph Lauren Shirt

Ralph Lauren new has a line of Create Your Own shirts. You can choose from several different styles and then add your own custom embroidery options. I love this Custom-Fit Oxford with the monogram. (Too bad you can't buy the man in shirt too!!)

Don't like the personalized version? Check out all the other great products for dad that Ralph Lauren has to offer!!

Personalized Hershey's Chocolate

Who doesn't love chocolate? Especially Hershey's chocolate!! You can create one of a kind chocolate gifts at Hershey's website, or choose from a wide variety of other chocolaty gifts, from tees and hats to gift baskets.

I love the personalized tie and the World's Greatest Dad card, made out of a pound of chocolate!!

Moon Real Estate

Ok, this one may be a little far fetched for some, but I thought it was interesting. You can actually buy an acre of "land" on the moon! No joke!! And gift packages start as low as $29.99! Now, I don't know what you'd do with your moon land investment, but it could make for an interesting dinner conversation one night! And you I'm sure dad's never received that gift before!! Wait! The moon isn't enough for you?? You can also add some Mars territory to your gift!! (No, I'm not kidding!)

Give Dad the Gift of Experience

This is by far my favorite!! Cloud 9 Living offers a wide array of "experience" gifts. You know, another gift that just keeps on giving! And we were talking about interesting dinner conversations? Think of the conversations if you sent dad to be a fighter pilot for a day! Or he got to dive with sharks? Or take private DJ lessons? How about drive a stock car? The experiences range in price. Some were around $70, like bungee jumping , and others were over $100,000, like starring in your own movie!!

There really is something for everyone on this website!!

Happy Father's Day shopping!!!

June 10, 2009

Product Recalls

Do you follow product recalls? I did for the longest time and have to admit I haven't done so well lately. But while I was following the recalls I was shocked at the number of items we actually had in our home that were recalled!
All of our recalled items were toys, but there were several of them over about a 2 year span. We had toy cars that were recalled for lead paint, a toy farm house that was recalled due to a choking hazard and a large play table in which children could get their arm stuck in! All of the items we had recalled were very easy to fix or get replacements for.

I don't know why I stopped watching for recalls, but in an effort to start doing better, I'm going to start featuring some recalls here on my blog.

Why is this important? Well take toys, for example, in 2007 there were 18 toy-related deaths in the US and around 232,900 toy-related injuries that were treated in emergency rooms, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. 73% of these injuries were to children under 15 and 34% were to children under 5 years.

In addition to toy-related deaths and injuries, nursery products pose a huge risk to children under 5 years. (Nursery products include cribs, car seats, high chairs, strollers, play pens and baths.) In 2007 there were around 62,500 emergency room treated injuries caused by nursery products in children under 5. And 238 children under the age of 5 died in a 3 year period due to nursery products.

Here is a list and links to some of the recent products recalled in these two categories.

About 4,300 Step2 Play Up Gym play sets sold at Toys R Us were recalled in May 2009 due to fall hazard.

About 71,000 Eddie Bauer Soothe & Sway Play Yards sold online and at Target, Sears and Burlington Coat Factory were recalled in May 2009 due to a suffocation hazard.

About 2,900 Bonavita “Hudson” and Babi Italia “Pinehurst” Drop Side Cribs sold at Babies “R” Us, Baby Basics, Beautiful Beginnings, and Buy Buy Baby stores and other retailers were recalled this month due to entrapment and suffocation hazards.

About 2,000 Bonavita “Cabana” Drop Side Cribs sold at USA Baby, Beautiful Beginnings, Buy Buy Baby and other retailers were recalled this month due to entrapment and strangulation hazards.

About 22,500 Bugaboo Bee Strollers sold online and at various retailers were recalled due to risk of brake failure.

***These are not all of the products that were recently recalled. Check out the US Consumer Product Safety Commission's website to get a list of all the recent recalls and instructions about what to do if you own a recalled product. ***

June 08, 2009

Tastefully Simple Catalog Party and Giveaway!!

My great friend Joanne over at Barely Domestic Mama is having a Tastefully Simple catalog party that I just had to share with you all!!

First of all if you've never heard of Tastefully Simple it's a direct sales company that sells food products. They strive to offer "easy-to-prepare gourmet foods designed to help people spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying the rest of their lives." Sounds great to me!! And the best part is that the Tastefully Simple website also provides recipes to incorporate their mixes into full meals!! So just because a product is sold as a dip mix doesn't mean that it's just for dip!! Which is great for not so domestic women like myself! ;)

So here's the deal, Joanne is hosting the catalog party, since you purchase the products from a consultant this is a great way to get started buying! She's also doing 3 giveaways!! I'm still flip flopping on exactly what I want to buy yet, but right now the Chocolate Bliss Cheeseball and the Warm the Oven! Savory Cheese Dip mix are at the top of my list! Yummy!!

June 07, 2009

I Just Wanted to Hide!

I love my boys more than anything else in the world. But there are days that I just want to run and hide from them! Ok, maybe not whole days, but moments in the middle of a hectic day, like when all three of them are crying at the same time!

The other evening I was attempting to make dinner (which if you know me you'll know it was just an attempt), and it turned into one big cry fest!! It started out ok. Bear was sitting in his little chair watching the lights, Little Man was sitting on the couch playing a game, and Jellybean was on the couch napping.

A few minutes into my dinner making (if that's what you can consider a boxed pizza kit), Bear started to get a little restless and well, whiny. The next thing I know, while my hands are covered in oil and pizza dough, Little Man decides to wake up his sleeping little brother.

How did he wake his brother up you might ask?? By licking him on the head!!!! I'm not kidding either! Jellybean was so mad! And understandably so. So he was crying and wanted to be held, but remember, I was covered in pizza dough... So, I told Little Man to sit down for a time out and he started a hysterical crying fit!!

So here's a little re-cap of my life at this moment: Bear is now screaming in his chair from being ignored and all the noise around him, Jellybean is crying at my legs, begging to be picked up, and Little Man is in the next room throwing a royal fit and screaming because he apparently thinks it's ok to lick your brother.

And at that moment in time all I wanted to do was run and hide in my closet. Except my closet has no locks on it. I'm considering buying some big padlocks for my closet, and a good set of earplugs. Or maybe a cute little lock like this one that will match my pink walls! That way the next time my little rascals go crazy I'll have a place to sit quietly and pretend that my life isn't so crazy! :)

I Won My First Award!!!

To say I'm thrilled would be an understatement, to say that I'm bouncing off the walls with uncontrollable excitement might be a better description!! Why? Because Valerie, over at It's A Wonderful Life, just gave me the Love Ya award!! My very first award!! WooHoo!! Thanks again, Valerie, it means a lot to me!! If you haven't checked her out yet, do so Now! :)

This award is bestowed on to blogs that are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

Anyway, it's now my turn to pass the torch, so to speak, and here are 8 other blogs that I think deserve some attention!!

1.) Joanne @ Barely Domestic Mama (this is the blog, and the woman, that got me started!!!)

4.) Mandy @ All Day Everyday

7.) Shannon @ Furious Shirley

8.) Deanna @ MommyGaga

June 03, 2009

What Would You Do?

If you saw kittens in a storm drain?? I hate to admit it, but I think I'd feel really sorry for them and then walk away. Well, I might try calling the SPCA, but that would be about it for me. However... not all people are as cruel as me. My husband's grandfather, for example.

He works as a crossing guard and noticed 3 small kittens in a storm drain a few weeks ago at his post. He's been watching them ever since and had tried to call the SPCA and had no luck. He then called a local radio station and got some attention to the kittens. Well, earlier today while he showed up to his post and some county workers had some and removed the storm drain to try and rescue the kittens, but weren't having any luck. Then a few firefighters stopped by, but couldn't do anything.

Well, just before he left a lady who had heard about the kittens on the radio showed up to help and the two of them rescued them with a net! Apparently it was quite the ordeal trying to get them, especially when they tried to escape, which one did, until he was caught again! Now, my hubby's grandfather is stuck with the cats until he finds a home for them. The SPCA told him they'd be put to sleep today if he left them there because they had too many cats. So he brought them home!!

Aren't they cute?!

I Won my First Giveaway!!

Woohoo!! I'm so excited!! I've entered so many cool giveaways on other blogs over the last few months... but I've never won anything. It can be such a bummer. But, I finally won something! I entered a giveaway that Valerie was hosting on her blog It's A Wonderful Life to celebrate her 200th post! And I won a pair of earrings! Yes! I can't wait to get them!! :) Thanks again, Valerie! And be sure to go check her out!

June 02, 2009

She Gave my Infant a Carrot!!

Over the weekend my in-laws through a big picnic and all of my hubby's family was there. Bear was the only baby there and was getting passed around like the bowl of peas at Thanksgiving dinner. Kind of annoying, but not a big deal. Anyway, he started to get a little fussy while my hubby's cousin (who has 3 teenagers of her own) was holding him so I could eat.

She was trying to get him to settle down for her when her mom comes up and says that the baby wants some "Real food." We all laughed at her, thinking she was joking. The next thing I know she picks up a baby carrot and sticks it in the baby's mouth!!! Are you kidding me?!?! I didn't know what to do! All I could manage to say was "he's not even 2 months old, he doesn't want any real food!"

I was mortified! But at the same time I'm a little afraid of this woman. She's a little rough around the edges and I'm pretty sure she could smack me across the room if she wanted to. But why in the world couldn't I get myself to stand up and say anything! Ugh! I think I'm more upset with myself now. Crazy aunts!!